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Third American presidential election of 1796

1796 election map

AndyHogan14, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

NOTE: Until the election of 1804, the second place winner would be vice president. According to the original Constitutional electoral process, electors would choose two candidates to give an electoral vote to.


The 1796 presidential election took place from Friday, November 4 - Wednesday, December 7, 1796.

Presidential candidates

Campaining & major issues

In 1796, president George Washington refused to seek a third term, which would set a precedent that would remain until 1940. Because of this, this was the first election where there was major campaigning and actual competition for the presidency. Federalists mostly supported John Adams for president and Thomas Pinckney for vice president while Democratic-Republicans mostly supported Thomas Jefferson for president and Aaron Burr for vice president. During the campaign, Federalists associated Democratic-Republicans with the violence of the French Revolution while Democratic-Republicans criticized Federalists of favoring a monarchy and supporting aristocracy.

Electoral college & turn-out

70 electoral votes are needed to win; 138 in total. Tennessee joined the Union since the last election, increasing the vote to 138 electors. A total of 66,841 people voted.


NOTE: All popular votes for Federalists are attached to John Adams and all Democratic-Republican popular votes are attached to Thomas Jefferson. Also, only 9/16 states had popular vote which was heavily restricted.

First place (president-elect): John Adams

71/138 electoral votes

53.4% of the popular vote

Second place (vice presidential-elect): Thomas Jefferson

68/138 electoral votes

46.6% of the popular vote

Third place: Thomas Pinckney

59/138 electoral votes

Popular vote unknown

Fourth place: Aaron Burr

30/138 electoral votes

Popular vote unknown

Fifth place: Samuel Adams

15/138 electoral votes

Popular vote unknown

Sixth place: Oliver Ellsworth

11/138 electoral votes

Popular vote unknown

Seventh place: George Clinton

7/138 electoral votes

Popular vote unknown

Eighth place: John Jay

5/138 electoral votes

Popular vote unknown

Ninth place: James Iredell

3/138 electoral votes

Popular vote unknown

Tenth place: George Washington, John Henry & Samuel Johnston

2/138 electoral votes

Popular vote unknown

Eleventh place: Charles Cotesworth Pinckney

1/138 electoral votes

Popular vote unknown

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